Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Acceptable losses

Now, where was I? This post was ready to go right before my dear mother died.  I have said my good byes to my elderly mother who was ready to die. Though her death was not exactly acceptable, it was not unpredictable and certainly not a surprise. I will miss her terribly. She was a kind, brave, faithful, corny, unforgettable woman who was loved by anyone who knew her. She made her mark on the world and has left behind an amazing spirit full of life and laughter and a little mischievousness on the side. Her antics were sometimes embarrassing but loved anyway. Her grandchildren loved her dearly for her quirkiness and fun loving nature. She was like no one else's grandma. She was Grandma Aggie. 

Some losses, however, are total surprises and totally senseless. Thus would be the many who have lost their lives to gun injuries and the many who still will. Also thus are those who have survived their gun injuries to tell stories. They are not using their "status" as victims. No one wants to do that. But if their stories will change hearts and minds, then they are worth telling. That is what the world is about. That is why we walk and run for breast cancer, for Alzheimer's disease, for heart disease, for multiple sclerosis and the many other causes out there. Stories make it more clear that we have a problem and we need to work to prevent the cause or reduce the chances of dying or suffering. And here is a story, below, that needs to be told over and over again.

As I wrote about in my Speaking Up post,I watched my friend Colin Goddard on the Oprah Winfrey show, talking about how his life was changed when he was shot four times at Virginia Tech University in April of 2007.

Thirty-two innocent people died that day, and Colin and others were seriously injured. Colin, a poised and intelligent young man was raised by parents who firmly believed in caring for the larger human community, and giving back to that community. He now follows a calling that I’m familiar with, having lost a loved one to gun violence.

Colin is the subject of a new documentary called
“Living for 32,” that tells his story of pain, rehabilitation and awakening. “I was in the right place at the right time, Colin says. I was in class.” Now, he says, “we live for the 32 murdered on April 16th, 2007, at Virginia Tech and for the 32 people who are murdered with guns every day in America.” The documentary has already received honors as one of the films on the Oscar 2010 Documentary Shortlist for the 2011 83rd Academy Awards

I am proud to be in a movement with young leaders like Colin, who have had an awakening.  But it is time for others to have an awakening, including a certain person who posted a comment to a blog I published recently. I can't stop thinking about this comment to my blog, "A mother's story" about a woman who lost all 4 of her children to gun injuries.

Here is what the commenter wrote:

"... death by gun accounts for 60% of murders in the US. Death by everything else accounts for 40%. This is not made up. That means of every ten murders, six are by gun, four are by other means. That doesn't sound like a large amount to me. "

This is so unbelievable as to stretch the credulity of reason and logic. It defies the imagination to think that if 60 out of 100 murders are due to guns, it’s not a large amount. If 32 people are murdered by a gunman at Virginia Tech, but another 21 Americans elsewhere are murdered with a different weapon, that's not too many?

Where is common sense? What is this person thinking? If the coldness of this comment is a measure of the thinking of the gun crowd, then these cold souls should not be in a position of influencing gun policy in this country. There are no “throw away” victims in our society. 
This commenter seems not to care that people kill themselves with guns on a regular basis. He apparently cares not that children accidentally shoot themselves or friends or family members almost every day with a loaded gun just ready for the trigger to be pulled.  He just wants his guns, and he doesn't care if people who shouldn't have them get them - as long as he can have his. 

So how many gun deaths are too many for him? I'm angry about this way of thinking about victims. I hope that my readers are also angry enough to contact their elected leaders and say, "enough is enough". Get active and insist that we do something about all the gun deaths and injuries in this country.

Come on everyone. This is serious stuff we are talking about here. Too many people are dying from gun injuries every day. Too many families become victims every day, as my family has and as Colin and his family have. He survived his gun injuries but will always carry April 16, 2007 with him. Nonsense needs to be replaced by common sense. This is too important to leave to the powerful and well-funded gun lobby and their lackeys in our Congress. This New York Daily News article about Living for 32 shares what most who have had the pleasure to speak with and listen to Colin Goddard say about him and his experience.

Join me, and Colin Goddard, and all the other people who have been personally touched by this epidemic.

The time is now.


  1. Join you and what? Blame the normal honest gun owner? Where's the common sense in that?

  2. japete, I actually agree with you but I would drop the "gun" qualifier. We need to listen to the victims of VIOLENCE. Why the Brady Campaign is only concerned with violence committed by someone using a firearm has always confused me.

    Are you willing to listen to those who have saved their own life or the lives of others via use of a firearm?

    For example, I used the gun I was carrying to save my own life at the age of 14. How do you feel about that?


  3. How does one respond to your question? I know you know the answer. The Brady Campaign was named for James Brady who was shot in an attempt on President Reagan's life. Thus, the organization concerns itself with gun injuries and deaths. There are all sorts of groups out there concentrating on different concerns. No one condones violence, no matter how it happens.

  4. Can you name one concealed carry permit holder who committed a violent gun crime on any school property prior to the Gun Free School Zones Act? And while guns on school property are now banned due to GFSZA, how many violent gun crimes are committed on school property by CCW permit holders?

    Some college campuses today allow professors to carry concealed weapons. A few others allow students or CCW permit holders. Those people are allowed to lawfully carry every single day on campus. How many of them have ever committed a violent gun crime on campus?

    I think you will find the answer is ZERO. Even a search of anti-gun sites such as this one (http://abusingtheprivilege.blogspot.com/search?q=school) or the VPC's famed "Google Research" doesn't show any such crimes on campus. There are some folks who carry into prohibited areas without any intent to cause harm and without any actual violence occurring. I found one story about a negligent discharge which hurt nobody. But there are not any actual crimes committed by CCW permit holders.

    I went to school in Virginia and knew folks that were attending VT at the time of the shooting. It was a traumatic event. However, stripping victims of any sort of defensive tools and concentrating them in one confined area creates a kill zone. Is it any wonder that whackos and suicidal mass killers are attracted to gun free zones?

    We are dealing with this issue in Alaska right now. UAA's board of regents is acting under color of law to prohibit firearms on campus in explicit violation of state statute. There is a case pending so I suppose we'll see what the courts do. UAA is one of the few gun free zones in this state.

    Chris from AK

  5. When my wife was young, she was home with her mom and younger sisters. They were too poor to afford a telephone, and a man was hollering and kept kicking their door until he finally kicked it in. My mother in law shot him in the leg, he screamed and crawled away. He survived and was arrested.

    In the 80's, I managed a pizza delivery place. After closing, a bunch of bikers pulled into the lot, and one of them began kicking my locked door, and demanding to be let in and fed. Kicks got harder when I picked up the phone. Kicks to the door quit and bikers left when I came from behind the counter and they saw my holstered gun. Police in that town were notoriously incompetent and slow to react--Their station faced a convenience store next door that was robbed while I lived there.

    I probably would have survived a gang beating--Acceptable loss? Mother in law and her daughters probably would have survived whatever the guy who kicked in their door intended--Would that be an acceptable loss?

    An Aunt and Uncle who owned a candy store were robbed at handgun-point more than once, sold out after the third time. Of course since the store was in Chicago, robbers knew the law abiding couldn't have their own guns. Acceptable loss?

    I want violence to end, period. Unilaterally giving up violence, or giving up violent means of defending will not end violence, is more likely to encourage it. Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois, the Trolley Square incident--almost every mass shooting happens in a place where guns are not allowed.

    This is not coincidence, nor is it an acceptable loss--Some of these deaths could have been prevented by not creating zones where law abiding license holders cannot carry.

  6. Joan,

    According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, approximately 10% -- just 10% of all violent crime is committed by a person with a firearm.

    By focusing narrowly on firearm related issues, at most you will only ever be able to make a 10% reduction in crime.

    In order to do that, you would have to completely eliminate firearm related crimes.

    Do you think that is likely or even possible?

  7. Can you name one permit holder who has used his/her gun on a campus to stop a mass murderer? If you spent any time with Colin Goddard and heard him describe the scene at VT, you would know that his having a gun would not have made a difference. In fact, he has said that if he had had a gun that day, he probably would have been shot to death by Cho. It's far to easy to picture yourself as a hero until something happens and you are in the midst of it. It just doesn't work out the way you think it will. People who have gone through simulated police trainings have found that out.

  8. See my above response. And yet, 4 armed police officers were shot to death in Tacoma, WA in a coffee shop while they were just sitting after their shift. I can name other cases where armed police officers were shot to death. I don't believe for a minute that someone bent on shooting folks will stop if they know there's a gun present. One would have to presume, for example, that in a school shooting, absolutely every teacher and student is armed in every classroom. How would a shooter know where the armed students were sitting or if anyone in that particular classroom was armed? He/she wouldn't. How would police or campus police know who the original perpetrator is if more than one in a classroom have a gun out? They wouldn't. They would shoot to kill and perhaps shoot the wrong armed person. Your scenario just does not work out the way you think it will. You have provided some cases of guns potentially used in self defense. Yes, sometimes it does work out that way. Sometimes it doesn't. Your solution is thus no better than mine. There is just too much of a chance of things going wrong when too many loaded guns are in public places. I have provided numerous examples of that in my blog.

  9. This has been discussed before. I am focusing on gun deaths and injuries which account for the majority of homicides and suicides. You can focus on your issues and I have chosen mine. I wonder why so many of you take issue with my focusing on gun deaths and injuries and gun violence in particular? It's bizarre to me that you would question that when that is the very purpose of my volunteer work and my blogging. I suppose people like you and others who blog for the pro-gun side don't have a single minded purpose. This is my blog- I will continue to focus on this issue to call attention to the serious problem we have in this country. The majority happens to agree with me but the gun lobby has all the money and power. We will carry on any way until our voices get louder and more numerous. Trying to silence mine will not work so don't bother to try.

  10. Can you name one permit holder who has used his/her gun on a campus to stop a mass murderer?

    No, because there has not been an attempted mass murder on a campus where carry is allowed.

    There have been several cases where a gun retrieved from a car has been used to stop a gunman--Appalachian Law School, and a junior high student. No way to know if these would qualify as a mass murder, because they were stopped before it became mass.

    if he had had a gun that day, he probably would have been shot to death by Cho.

    Possibly true--but history shows that as soon as anyone fires back at a spree shooter, no more unarmed people die. Conjecture is fine when there is no evidence--but facts should be used where possible.

    It's far to easy to picture yourself as a hero until something happens and you are in the midst of it. It just doesn't work out the way you think it will. People who have gone through simulated police trainings have found that out.

    Training simulations can be as easy or as hard as the designer wants them to be--most of the time they are harder than real life. Police also have a much more difficult duty than I do.

    As far as I can tell, you consider my wife or her mother being potentially raped to be acceptable losses, the loss of my aunt and uncle's store to be acceptable. That is fine if you estimate that the benefits of your gun control would exceed these losses-but to be derisive of the concept of acceptable losses on only one side of the equation is dishonest.

  11. Don't forget that the Columbine killers had a shootout with a Jefferson County Sheriff during their shooting spree.

    Somehow that is a fact which is glossed over quite a bit.

    Soon thereafter, at approximately 11:24 a.m., a Jefferson County deputy sheriff arrived at the scene and began shooting at Harris and Klebold, distracting them from the injured Brian Anderson. Anderson staggered out of the area and made it into the library where he ran into an open staff break room, remaining there until the ordeal ended. Harris fired ten shots at the officer, who then radioed in a Code 33 (officer in need of emergency assistance). When his gun ran out of ammunition, Harris ran inside the school with Klebold. The pair then proceeded down the main North Hallway shooting at anyone they saw and throwing pipe bombs. While doing so, they shot student Stephanie Munson in the ankle. She was able to walk out of the school and make it to a house across the street. The pair then proceeded to shoot out the windows to the East Entrance of the school. After going through the hall several more times, shooting at any students they saw (but not injuring any), they headed back towards the West Entrance and turned to the Library Hallway.

    It didn't stop them from proceeding to the Library and shooting another 21 people-- killing 10 of them.

  12. I don't mean to shift this pleasant conversation away from defensive weapons, whether they good or bad, etc, but what might be more useful in the overall gun debate is an examination of the gun policies, laws and "gun cultures" of other nations that have high private gun ownership but also very low gun crime. Switzerland, the Scandanavian countries for example.
    There's likely cultural agents at work that effect the level of crime in general, not just gun crime, that allow these countries to fare as well as they do. But no doubt the policies, laws & even attitudes of gun owners there are very relevant also.

    Brent G.

  13. "And while guns on school property are now banned due to GFSZA,"

    Not actually true. The Federal Gun Free Schools act allows exceptions for those licensed by the state.

    (B) Subparagraph (A) does not apply to the possession of a firearm— ...

    (ii) if the individual possessing the firearm is licensed to do so by the State in which the school zone is located or a political subdivision of the State,


    Guns in schools are regulated by the State. Should your state determine that guns were legal to carry in schools, there's nothing that the Feds could do about it. That's the reason I could open carry right past a school when I used to walk my dog up in PA. PA law said only on actual school grounds was it illegal.

    Good luck with the UAA Regents. No Guns Allowed signs just mean "Unarmed Victims Here."

  14. Nonsense. I don't believe for a minute that there has not been a mass school shooting on a campus that allows guns. You can't prove that one.

  15. "he has said that if he had had a gun that day, he probably would have been shot to death by Cho."

    So Cho was only trying to wound him by shooting him 4 times? He wasn't trying to kill the other dozens of people who DIDN'T have guns?

    Talk about nonsense.

  16. It's a good question whether guns do more harm than good. In spite of Sevesteen's personal accounts, both of which I'd accept as legitimate DGUs, for me it's an easy one. When you add up all the ways guns are misused, and I mean by lawful gun owners, the comparatively few occasions when someone really does save the day with a gun can't compare.

    Don't forget much of the misuse of guns by their rightful owners is what feeds into the gun flow allowing criminals easy access.

    One thing I would avoid though, japete, and I hope you don't mind my mentioning it, is saying these things happen because of guns. That's one point I agree with the gun crowd on, guns are inanimate objects and we who argue for gun control are well aware of that. But since guns are the inanimate objects best designed for killing, thereby greatly increasing the chances of success in attempted suicide and attempted murder, they must be better controlled.

  17. I don't believe for a minute that there has not been a mass school shooting on a campus that allows guns. You can't prove that one.

    Much harder to prove than to disprove--can you find a single example that would support your belief? I think you will have some difficulty in finding a mass shooting where guns are allowed, let alone in a school where guns are allowed.

    Mass shootings are rare, although not rare enough. Mass shootings where guns are allowed are even more rare, possibly nonexistent. Schools that allow guns are rare.

    ...and you are still dodging the question whether failing to stop the guy who broke into my dirt-poor mother in law's trailer, with nothing of value beyond the bodies of women and girls would be considered acceptable losses to the cause of gun control?

  18. "Nonsense. I don't believe for a minute that there has not been a mass school shooting on a campus that allows guns. You can't prove that one."

    All you need to disprove it is to provide one example.

    Can you?

  19. You have no idea about what went on that day. Until you do, I suggest you be quiet and not criticize those who were there.

  20. Thanks for the advice, Mike. Interesting that people get their undies in a bundle over my saying that people are shot by guns. When the CDC lists causes of death, the reports cleary say firearms. Whatever. I like your other points,

  21. You're the ones who brought it up and you haven't provided an example for me.

  22. "Can you name one permit holder who has used his/her gun on a campus to stop a mass murderer?"

    How about these?
    - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appalachian_School_of_Law_shooting
    - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parker_Middle_School_dance_shooting
    - http://www.davekopel.com/2a/othwr/principal&gun.htm

    You may not be aware of these because there is a pervasive media bias against reporting the defensive gun usage. For example, approximately 2% of media stories about the Appalachian shooting mention defensive gun usage by civilians. That was just quick cursory search. In fact, the civilians had to run out to their cars to get their privately owned weapons in at least one of them. Imagine if the response time had been faster?

    You mention that "People who have gone through simulated police trainings have found that out." I assume that you're referring to the ABC "Experiment," "If Only I Had a Gun." In this rigged experiment, a professional shooter was put up against a student whose exact location in the room was known. This was a great example of what happens if you put uniformed armed security around vulnerable areas; the shooter knows exactly who to take out first. In reality, a CCW holder will have a CONCEALED weapon and the active shooter will not know who to take out first. Even under these rigged conditions, the student was able to land a good hit on the shooter during one of the trial runs.

    Privately owned weapons on campus by CCW holders might not reduce deaths from mass shootings (I think they do, but I suppose you could disagree) on am empirical basis. However, I don't see how anyone can argue that they INCREASE crime or violence. At best, they save many lives by stopping shootings in progress and by deterring others. At worst, they have zero effect and do not pose any increased risk whatsoever.

    Again, I don't expect you or Colin to care about evidence or facts. You are victim advocates and thus operate on more emotional level. However, I do think that public policy should be made on a more rational basis.

    Chris from AK

  23. You're the ones who brought it up and you haven't provided an example for me.

    The whole point is that there ARE no examples--How are we supposed to provide an example of what we say doesn't exist?

  24. You can't say we don't care about facts because we provide facts all the time so that is just your biased opinion. From the first link: " According to Bridges: at the first sound of gunfire, he and fellow student Mikael Gross, unbeknownst to each other, ran to their vehicles to retrieve their personally-owned firearms[6] placed in their glove compartments. Mikael Gross, a police officer with the Grifton Police Department in his home state of North Carolina, retrieved a 9 mm pistol and body armor.[7] Bridges, a county sheriff's deputy from Asheville, North Carolina[8] retrieved his .357 Magnum pistol from beneath the driver's seat of his Chevrolet Tahoe.[9] Bridges and Gross approached Odighizuwa from different angles, with Bridges yelling at Odighizuwa to drop his gun.[10] Odighizuwa then dropped his firearm and was subdued by several other unarmed students, including Ted Besen and Todd Ross.[11]" So the "students" happened to be trained law enforcement officers in the first case.

    The second link- not exactly a school shooting but a shooting where middle school students were gathered for an event. I would hope that we don't allow middle school aged students to now carry guns. The day was saved by the owner of the restaurant who got out his shotgun- after several were already shot: " The shooting ended when the owner of Nick's Place, James Strand, intervened and confronted Wurst with his shotgun, ordering him to drop his weapon and later holding him at bay for eleven minutes. Strand later got Wurst on the ground and searched him for weapons, finding a dinner fork in his sock. "

    The third: "Myrick and his gun, no matter how one looks at it, saved lives. His actions saved the lives of waiting victims at a nearby junior high. He may have kept Woodham from shooting police, who would have arrived at the scene disoriented, without Myrick's home turf frame of reference. Arguably, Myrick and his gun even saved the life of the killer, who likely would have killed himself or been shot by SWAT cops after spilling more blood." Not sure what this blogger meant by this statement from the link: "In Pearl, federal, state and local laws helped Luke Woodham shoot nine students. The deer rifle had to be reloaded after every shot. To hit nine students, Woodham needed time. The moments it took Myrick to reach his gun are what allowed Woodham to continue shooting and almost escape. Gun laws, and nothing else, gave Woodham that time. " This link provides more information about the shootings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl_High_School_shooting" Two dead and 7 injured. I am saying that it takes time to realize what is happening before a gun can be used in self defense. The surprise element is always there. Adrenaline rushes through the body making otherwise simple decisions difficult. And no, I am not referring to the 20/20 video, though that is a pretty good one at showing the chaos that happens when a shooter enters a room. I am referring to actual police officer simulated training that some members of the public can undergo. I will write more about this later.

  25. " The whole point is that there ARE no examples--How are we supposed to provide an example of what we say doesn't exist?" What? afraid that is incomprehensible.

  26. Your organization -- and yourself, and Colin -- seek to ban carrying firearms on campus even by law abiding CCW permit holders. In fact, some anti-gun groups oppose armed police officers on campus! However, you are absolutely unable to provide any evidence whatsoever that allowing CCW on campus causes any sort of increase in violent gun crime. There are zero peer reviewed studies and even more tellingly zero media reports or anecdotes about any sort of violent gun crime whatsoever by CCW holders on campus. You desire to restrict individual liberty based off of fear and "worst case" scenarios that have no grounding in reality.

    On the other hand, there is evidence to show that private citizens with firearms may have a deterrent effect and can may stop a mass murderer in progress. This has been found in peer reviewed studies as well as anecdotally. Even if there is no beneficial effect, at worst, there is no effect whatsoever.

    Just think about it. Many mass shooters plan on dying. These events often end in suicide. Are they going to be deterred by punishments such as expulsion from the school, criminal charges, or fines? Probably not. Why do many mass shootings occur in so-called "gun free" zones where all the victims are disarmed?

    Regarding the three anecdotes:
    1) Interestingly, the exact policies you and Colin advocate even disarm off-duty police officers as well as civilians. UAA's current policy disarms former and off-duty police officers who happen to be students. Moreover, CCW permit carriers -- on the whole -- have shown themselves to be as competent as police when it comes to defensive firearms use.
    2) I don't advocate middle school students carrying concealed handguns (although it is interesting that a generation or two ago it was no big deal for students to carry rifles to school to use for target shooting clubs and hunting, even in urban areas like NYC). However, I think that administrators and probably teachers could certainly be trusted with this responsibility. Some school districts allow teachers and administrators to be armed and have had ZERO problems.
    3) Ever since Columbine occured, the accepted protocol for active shooter scenarios in law enforcement circles is for the first responders on the scene to immediately enter the situation. This is a change from old protocols that called for setting up a perimeter and waiting for the SWAT team to show up or for the killer to commit suicide. Unfortunately, even a police response time of <10 minutes (which is still damn fast) is not enough to stop a determined mass murderer.

    As a side note (sorry to mix issues here...), the killer in this case used a 30-30 lever action deer rifle, which even the strictest assault weapon ban would not address. Dave Kopel does underestimate the time required to chamber a new round; lever guns are fairly rapid, not like a single shot or even a bolt action.

    Bottom line: Banning all guns on campus has KNOWN negative effects (mass shootings that go on unstopped until LEOs with guns can arrive and enter the scene). Allowing CCW on campus may have positive benefits as far as stopping rampages and deterrence, but certainly does not make the situation worse.

  27. I just don't think you can make the statement in your bottom line, Chris. As to allowing guns on campus, sometimes there is just the idea of "doing the right thing" for public safety. Most University Presidents and Campus Police are against these laws for very good and thought out reasons. The fact that they don't agree with you does not make them wrong.

  28. "What? afraid that is incomprehensible. "

    Really? We're supposed to provide examples of something that HASN'T happened?

    Is that really what you can't (or won't) understand?

  29. "Most University Presidents and Campus Police are against these laws for very good and thought out reasons"

    That is an opinion. The same 'reasons' were given to argue against CCW in each and every instance. Those 'reasons' have been proven wrong time and time again.

  30. You are asking me to do the same.

  31. Actually, that is a fact. It is anedotal but a fact.

  32. The president of UAA advanced these arguments for banning CCW on campus:

    (1) K-12 students are present on the UA campus.
    Response: K-12 students are also present at Walmart, movie theaters, and McDonalds. Alaska law prohibits carry at schools, not places where children may be present.

    (2) There are daycare centers on UA campus.
    AK state law prohibits carry within a day care. That includes only a small part of the campus.

    (3) Students illegally drink in the dorms. Firearms cannot be carried in bars in Alaska. Therefore, all of UA should be considered a bar.
    CCW is prohibited in bars in Alaska. Nobody is arguing that students should be able to keep unsecured firearms in the dorms while drinking. We are talking about people attending classes at UA, not kids in the dorms. Moreover, some Alaskans drink in public parks. Does that mean that all public parks should be considered bars? Should all Alaskans be barred from CCW in public parks? The AK statute defines bars precisely and the dorms do not qualify.

    (4) UA adjudicates issues related to student and faculty conduct and thus should be considered a courthouse.
    Alaska law prohibits carrying firearms in courthouses which are part of the Alaska Court System. UA is not part of the AK Court System. I don't see how this statute is relevant.

    The bigger issue that I see in Alaska is that UA is blatantly violating the state's preemption statute. This sets a nasty precedent that is bad for the rule of law. What if UA decides to flaunt a non-discrimination statute in the future? You can't pick and choose which laws are enforced and which are not.

    The UA board of Regents also has an easy out, under state law. They could comply with the preemption statute and ban guns on campus by (1) posting signs at all entrances and (2) establishing security checkpoints at all entrances. For some reason -- likely expense -- they refuse to go forward with this legal option.

    You wrote: "I just don't think you can make the statement in your bottom line, Chris."
    Can you please explain to me how my bottom line is incorrect? I really, genuinely don't understand your position. I cannot find a single instance where a permit holder lawfully carrying on a campus caused any sort of violent gun crime to occur, shot a bystander, or caused an accident. That means that they don't make the safety situation worse. If their presence doesn't make the situation worse, then it either has no impact or actually improves safety.

    Chris from AK

  33. Since we have so few states that do allow guns on campus, we don't have experience yet with potential problems. You seem to have forgotten that I all about preventing things from happening in the first place. That view leads me to a conclusion opposite of yours in that I believe we don't need loaded guns everywhere to defend against potential shooters. I believe that loaded guns everywhere can lead to accidental shootings, intentional homicides and perhaps even suicides. Alaska law, by the way, is different than some states. Minnesota law allows guns in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol. One must look at what is going on in states other than their own to realize the potential for problems. We can't say that the safety situation is or will be better if students are allowed to carry guns. Also, it is true that most Universities have day care centers and have k-12 students in attendance as well as senior citizens for classes. Many community events occur on campuses. You are right, these same people are in other places as well. That is why we don't need loaded guns in all public places. I have provided many examples of people with loaded guns whose guns have discharged accidentally in public places. Some have resulted in injuries to the carrier or someone else. As I said before, time will tell what will happen when anyone can carry everywhere and we won't know if that person carrying is a criminal carrying illegally or a legal carrier. That will be a real problem to sort out going forward. If you have it your way, there will surely be more potential for trouble. That is inevitable. Guns are dangerous weapons. The responsibility to carry is awesome and should not be taken lightly. When I have time I will provide a story run on one of the local T.V. stations recently about this. You can't say with certainty that the presence of guns on campus has not made a situation worse or has made a situation better. We don't have enough experience yet to make that statement. It may have no impact up til now but that doesn't mean it won't. So either way, your reasoning is no better than mine. We just approach it from different views. Mine is from the side of prevention and public safety- yours, I guess, is from the side of self defense and, in your view, public safety. We will not agree on this one,Chris.

  34. Gwen,

    I still am having a really hard time understanding your argument. If you don't mind I'd like to restate it. If you can put something into your own words I find that it helps to enhance understanding.

    The italics below aren't the position I suppose, so to any who would quote me out of context.
    No benefit: Armed citizens do not provide any sort of measureable benefits. They are incapable of deterring crime, and they are also unable to stop crime once it has begun.
    Significant Risks: Armed citizens pose significant and measureable risks to the community.
    - They are likely to commit violent gun crimes.
    - They are likely to have negligent discharges which wound or kill others.
    - It is impossible for police to distinguish between law abiding CCW permit holders and criminals carrying firearms. This complicates police efforts.
    - If K-12 students, senior citizens, college students, or other special groups are present, then a CCW citizen is more likely to cause an injury or death.
    - CCW permit holders are more likely to commit suicide outside of the home in a public place. Forbidding them from carrying weapons outside the home reduces the risk of suicides.
    - If a CCW holder tries to stop a crime in progress, they are likely to shoot a bystander or a police officer. They will most likely not have any impact on the crime in progress.
    - Insufficient Data: These may not be the only risks posed. We can be certain that there are zero benefits, but there may be additional risks which have not yet been observed.
    Data Unavailable: We have sufficient data to confirm that there are zero benefits. There is insufficient data to confirm all of the above risks; in fact, there may be additional risks which we are unaware of at this time, and if CCW is expanded there could be disastrous consequences.
    Observed Evidence: Any observed, empirical evidence observed to date is biased, not statistically significant, or does not have a sufficient time frame to properly evaluate.
    Cost/Benefit Equation: Because CCW outside the home poses significant risks with zero benefits, it should be prohibited.

    Is that a fair summary? I really am having a hard time understanding your point of view on this particular issue.

  35. Being somewhat knowledgeable concerning firearms & their use, I can say it's understandable real-life situations arise where a defensive gun gives an advantage, while in other ones the opposite would be true. Each particular situation is different. That's why there are different types of tactical weapons & different tactics to go with them. Most of the folks on this blog seem to appreciate this, of course. And folks on both sides of this issue can find good evidence to support thier views.

    On one point, I watched that ABC "test" concerning defensive guns in classrooms. I'm not a "shootist" & therefore can't claim any deep expertise when it comes to combat handguns & their use. But based on what I saw & what I know, I can safely say that the issue of defensive guns, pro/con, was done an extreme dissrevice by this "test". ABC is clearly interested in ratings, not enlightening its audience.

    There's pluses & minuses with guns on campus. But the minuses can be more serious here than they are for common public carry since you're dealing with college students (as opposed to the the general population). Any initiative to put (defensive) guns on campus, in the hands of students particularily, should be approached very carefully.

    I'm not that concerned about persons taking a serious concealed carry class, undergoing a COMPLETE background check, re-qualifying on some routine basis, and then being allowed to carry publicly. But that's the general population. College students may require extra caution.

    To me, the big issue is reducing the flow of guns to the illicit market.

    Brent G.

  36. Brent,

    What about adult learners? Is someone going back for their masters suddenly more immature than any other adult? What about a 40 year old who wants to get a BA and improve his family's situation? It seems to me that the real issue you have is with age, not "student" status.

    Given that age is the issue, not student status, how do you feel about allowing 18-21 year olds to:
    - Vote
    - Drive
    - Serve in the military
    - Write letters to the editor
    - Work at TSA, as night watchmen, as cops, as security guards, as paramedics, or in any other job that involves public responsibility?

    When I went to college, I had friends who were in the Army reserve who had been deployed downrange, been in battle for a tour or two, and were back working on their studies -- and they still weren't old enough to have a beer! I was a night watchman. I knew others that were paramedics.

    Again, I'm not talking about letting people store firearms in the dorms where there are clearly storage and security issues. I'm talking about allowing law abiding adults who possess CCW permits carry firearms.

    I think that if you feel that college aged kids who pass a background check and training class are too immature to handle firearms, then you should also oppose their right to vote. If their judgment is that poor then how can you justify allowing them to do something as important as vote? Moreover, how can you justify letting them drive? Driving is much more dangerous statistically speaking than carrying a firearm. And if they're not good enough to carry a Beretta 92FS at home, how come you'll let them carry an M9 (the exact same firearm) in Iraq or Afghanistan?

    If you accept that 18-21 year old college students are not too immature to vote, serve in the armed forces, or drive, then is there something about college campuses that makes otherwise rational people behave in an irrational and dangerous manner?


  37. Except for serving in the military where there is a lot of supervision and training, most other things 18 year olds can do do not involve deadly weapons. There is a difference. I believe that there are just some places where guns do not need to be carried. If they are carried everywhere, inevitably there will be more shootings-intentional or unintentional. That is the nature of things. Other countries do not feel a need for people to be armed wherever they go nor do they have as many guns generally. And, of course, their gun deaths per 100,000 are also significantly lower than ours. One does need to wonder what makes the difference- or not. I think it's pretty clear.

  38. For Chris-

    The name is not Gwen.

    Benefit- not saying there is no benefit- just saying it is not significant and not proven so far.

    There are significant risks for sure. I have written about the accidental discharges and the permit holders who have shot people. Clearly, it is not the majority of permit holders who are likely not causing any trouble. But don't forget that I am all about preventing gun injuries and deaths.

    Data unavailable? not sure what you mean there. Do you have any data that show that carrying guns makes us safer? I have the deaths caused by permit holders and the accidental gun discharges by media accounts.

    As to observed evidence, see above. The time frame is a work in progress since many CCW laws are fairly new and data about permit holders is often not available due to the NRA's lobbying efforts to keep it secret.

    Hmm- Cost/benefit analysis? not saying that carrying loaded guns should be prohbited. I have lost that battle a while ago. I'm just saying that it does involve risks, as I have shown in many cases.

  39. "Except for serving in the military where there is a lot of supervision and training, most other things 18 year olds can do do not involve deadly weapons."

    Over 5000 people aged 16-20 die every year in car wrecks. Another 20,000 are seriously injured. Should college aged people in that age group be forbidden from driving cars? If we prohibited driving then it would result in a significantly lower auto deaths per 100,000 rate!

    However, at this point I'll even concede the under 21 point to you because it is a sidebar not entirely relevant to the main thrust of our argument. I still don't understand how adult learners are more likely to cause mayhem the second they step onto campus. I suppose all those middle aged people getting MBAs are the real threat, eh?

    Joan, I'd be interested to see if you feel that I accurately restated your position in my summary above. I still am having a hard time wrapping my brain around it. I'm being serious on that point; maybe I am slow or just have difficulty understanding the way it has been presented so I want to ensure that I didn't put words into your mouth.

    Chris from AK

  40. Cars cause a lot of death and injuries but cars are not inherently deadly weapons. They are not designed as such. That is a difference. I hate that cars kill people and often young people. That is why MADD became such a powerful organization and that is why car companies have to ensure safety features. If not, they would be sued and have been sued. Such is not the case with gun manufacturers or dealers who knowingly sell to prohibited purchasers. Guns are not dealt with by the Consumer Product Safety Commission- one of the very few products sold that are not.

    But I digress. I answered your points. That is all I will say. You are not entirely accurate in summarizing my point of view. Read what I said.

  41. Ms. Peterson,

    Fair enough. I am honestly having a hard time following your line of reasoning. I know I've been snarky in the past but I'm not being facetious now. The only way I know of to reduce miscommunication is to try to read what you've written, assimilate it myself, then restate it in my own words.

    I'm not sure where the breakdown in communication is. Maybe it is the limitations of blogger-esque written words, or my reading comprehension, or your writing skills. But for some reason I genuinely cannot understand the thread of your argument. Since you won't identify the portions of my effort to paraphrase which are incorrect I really can't think of a way to better understand your position. Sorry for being so obtuse! Maybe in the future you will find a way to explain things that I can understand more clearly.

    Chris from AK

  42. Joan,

    Sorry about the "Gwen" reference! Our local anti-gun activist in Anchorage is named Gwen. I must have had a brief mental mix up. My apologies.

    Chris from AK

  43. Chris- I do appreciate your honesty. I don't know if people like you are just waiting to pounce on me if I make one misstatement or don't write something the right way for you. We must think differently and maybe our points of view have led us to different language and different ways of looking at the same thing. Oh, and by the way, I am not anti-gun so I hope you will think twice about writing that. And, just for fun, do all of us "anti-gun" activists look alike or something? You have us all in the same box as I suppose I have you guys.

  44. Chris, et al,

    I don't have strong feelings about concealed/open carry, one way or the other. As long as those doing the carrying have passed a solid background check, took a good course & keep their hand in with their chosen weapon. When it comes to students carrying on campus, at least those under say 22 years of age, perhaps even a bit older, I would approach that with extreme caution.
    True, folks in that age bracket should vote, must drive cars in order to get on with their lives, and do make the best stock for a military force.
    But insurance and car rental companies treat that demographic somewhat differently than adults who are older because they appreciate the increased risk that comes with the younger crowd. So I'm saying I'd be pretty careful before I let them carry on a college campus.
    No doubt there are persons in that age group that are sufficiently reliable. And, as you point out, many students are much older than the traditional "college age". I suppose you could have an age limit for carrying.
    Also, as Japete mentioned, if a DGU occured on campus the carry permit holders on the scene & responding authorities would have to be able to easily & quickly identify eachother or there could be some tragic "friendly fire" incidents. With some thought, there's probably a way to satisfy this to some extent.

    I'd really like to see We, The People, put most of our efforts behind keeping dangerous weapons out of the wrong hands. And then if reasonable, intelligent & qualified folks wish to carry a weapon publicly I wouldn't have much of a problem with it.

    My hunting buddies & I carry big bore handguns when we bear bait. Of course that's out in the woods. But then, those woods are far safer than some city streets.


  45. “I don't have strong feelings about concealed/open carry, one way or the other. As long as those doing the carrying have passed a solid background check, took a good course & keep their hand in with their chosen weapon.”

    So my rights are contingent on a government issued permission slip, which costs me money and time to get? How is this not like a poll tax? I have a right to keep and bear arms. Why do I have to pay (in my state) $150-$250 for the privilege?

    “When it comes to students carrying on campus, at least those under say 22 years of age, perhaps even a bit older, I would approach that with extreme caution.”

    Why? Are you willing to ship them overseas to die for you, but unwilling to let them defend themselves here?

    “I'd really like to see We, The People, put most of our efforts behind keeping dangerous weapons out of the wrong hands.”

    And how exactly would you like to accomplish that? How about this, if you aren’t a (violent) felon, you can buy whatever you like. If you are a violent felon, you go to jail and stay there.

    “And then if reasonable, intelligent & qualified folks wish to carry a weapon publicly I wouldn't have much of a problem with it.”

    Oh, so only the “right” sort of people should get to carry? People who are just like you? None of those knuckle draggers, rednecks, or people who couldn’t get memberships at the Club? The South used to make sure that only the “right” sort of people voted.

    “My hunting buddies & I carry big bore handguns when we bear bait.”

    I will assume that you mean the modern hunting of bear over bait and not the medieval “sport” of setting dogs on a chained bear. Just remember that the same people who are trying to ban and limit my rights to carry a pistol are trying to ban your big bore pistols because they might punch through police vests. Your hostess here has already said that my Remington hunting rifle was unacceptable to her for the same reason. They’ll never ban your hunting rifle; they’ll call it a “sniper rifle” first. Then they’ll ban it. That is assuming that you really are a hunter and not a sock puppet pretending to be a hunter to try to make the gun banning look less extreme.

  46. Japete,

    I do care to respond. I may need some time to figure out just what to say as Sean brought up a number of points. So stay tuned.

    For now: Sean, you may feel you're up against some powerful enemies trying to curtail your rights. First, I've seen these "enemies" up close & they're far from powerful. The NRA, 2nd Amendment Foundation, etc, couldn't ask for better adversaries than Brady, Violence Policy Center, et al.
    It's always amazing to me that these latter groups, comprised as they are with very bright, educated & otherwise successful people, are so clueless when it comes to their chosen issue; i.e., gun violence. It's like they couldn't find their way out of a closet if the light was on & the door was open.

    I'm sorry Japete for the above comments, but Brady and other similar groups are simply INEPT. (In any other realm they'd probably be world-beaters, based on what I've observed about them. But on the gun issue, their totally tone-deaf to their message & image.)

    So Sean, I wouldn't lose much sleep over a possible gun grab.

    Again Japete, I'm sorry for the above verbage, but somewhere along the line the folks pushing background checks & safe storage, WHICH I DO FULLY SUPPORT, need to get with a far better program.

    And what exactly did you say about Sean's hunting rifle?


  47. Hey Brent- strong words indeed. We need to talk more. I happen to think that the message has changed and we are doing a better job than in the past. I remember you saying this is not your father or grandfather's NRA. Nor is it your father or grandfather's Brady Campaign or other groups. We are changing as we move along. I'm attempting to make the program better. Thanks for you support about background checks and safe storage- 2 very important issues that need to happen for sure. One thing that happens along the way is the gun lobby's push for side issues and adding amendments which then distracts the "gun control" groups. That is planned I am quite sure. In some cases, the "gun control" group has won a few skirmishes. And certainly we need to change but if you read most of the posts here and many I do not publish because they are so incendiary, insulting, provacative and outright lies- and even a bit threatening- you will see that the gun lobby needs to make some changes as well. But why would they change when they have fear and bullying on their side and they have been winning? It's a conundrum.

    Oh- I don't remember saying anything about Sean's rifle but there have so many backs and forths that I could have. It's a full time job to keep up with the comments here and find the facts in all of the verbiage.

  48. "And what exactly did you say about Sean's hunting rifle?"

    She objected to me owning a rifle that was "capable of penetrating a police officer's vest at 400 yards." Which, if you do any hunting, you know is a description of basically every modern bolt action rifle suitable for deer hunting. My post on it was


  49. Japete,

    I figured you would post my last comment, but was not entirely certain. And I wouldn't have blamed you if you hadn't.

    Yes, I think Brady has moved noticeably in the right direction. But they keep re-engineering their own defeat in ways that greatly overcome any small gains they make.

    These side shows you mention (they do exist and some are deliberately set as traps) should be either ignored or better yet, met head-on with an effective approach. There's a truckload of tools at the "sensible gun law" groups' disposal but they seem blind to them.

    As an example, any negative comments concerning Class III weapons, their ownership & use, is entirely off-base & damaging. Class III permit holders are smug about their safety record, and well they should be. That record is satistically unbelieveable!!! There's no other suitable adjective for it.
    So if Brady, et al, are opposed to Class III arms, believing private ownwership of them should be banned, then by that same reasoning muzzleloaders & pellet guns, heck bagels, should be banned also.

    But I don't think Brady really understands any of this stuff. They remind me of the 19th Century Bureau of Indian Affairs. Like Brady, those earlier folks were very bright, well educated ivory tower types. They were charged by the Fed to solve "The Indian Problem", and do it equitably, ethically and humanely. They seemed perfect for that task given their training and background.
    But none of them had ever been out West, never spent a cold night in a tee-pee, never ate rancid dog meat. They never interviewed white or black settlers who went to bed deathly afraid of night raids.
    All the Bureau's knowledge about the "Indian issue" was textbook-like & theoretical. So none of their elegant solutions worked in the field.

    So it is with Brady. But with courage & determination that can change.


  50. I'm feeling brave and courageous, Brent. Happy Thanksgiving, by the way.

  51. Sean & Japepte,

    Thanks for the info. I kinda' figured it was the ever popular "cop killer" issue. Police vests are fairly marginal; O.K. for a 9mm Parabellum & perhaps a bit more.

    FYI folks: A broad point huntig arrow will also penetrate most police vests.

    Let's keep this discussion going.

    Happy Thanksgiving to everybody!